ALVINSTON — The founder of the farm equipment chain Kucera Farm Supply, Steve Kucera, died last month. He was 87.
The Alvinston Case equipment dealer was remembered as a good listener with a grab-bag of jokes and encouragement. He founded Kucera Farm Supply in Alvinston in Lambton County in 1957 and opened dealerships later at Chatham and Tecumseh.
Todd Case, the mayor of Warwick Township, was 13 when he first met Kucera and remembers him well. “He was like an uncle to me, or a second father,” Case said. “His loss is a great loss for our community, but we were so blessed to have him in our life.”
When Case’s family moved to the area, the Kuceras were the first to welcome them. Case’s early interest in politics was nurtured by Kucera, a former politician himself. “I could always go to him and have a real good conversation,” Case said. “I was encouraged to think things through sometimes, especially when I was younger.”
The Slovakian-born Kucera had a few key pieces of advice. “Remember where you’re from. Look after the people.”
A man of the people, Kucera relished the annual customer appreciation days, Case said. He was quick with a joke, smooth with a story, and an enthusiastic singer, particularly fond of songs from his home country of Slovakia.
A member of the Rotary club for over 40 years, Kucera garnered awards locally, such as citizen of the month in 2014, and nationally, winning the Diamond Jubilee Award in 2014. A dedicated local servant, he served in municipal politics for 19 years, was a firefighter for 12, and served on the board of the local conservation authority for 14 years.
He is survived by his wife Helen, his brother Frank, sister Jean, and his many children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.